As the sun rose over the yardarm this morning, my wife asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. After pancakes, I said, “I’d like to attempt a positive, uplifting letter!” What with waiting for a vaccine shot, wrestling with the residue of Jan. 6, and now Harry and Meghan not returning as laborers for the Royal Family, wherever might a silver lining be found?

I’m old enough to have sat in front of a tiny black-and-white TV to watch Alan Shepard blast off and plop into the ocean 15 minutes later – to the astonishment of the entire nation. Perhaps the Russians were ahead of us. But no matter, we were off and running!   Soon John Glenn orbited Earth, and after that, Tom Hanks landed on the moon. Anyway, I think it was Tom …

Recently, those erudite eggheads at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully put “Perseverance” on Mars. Here on Earth, we can’t get airheads to put on a mask to persevere the pandemic. But I digress.

I’m sure I’m not alone as I anxiously and euphorically follow this saga. The sheer audacity of imagining, designing, building and dispatching a car-size contraption, and expecting it to land, intact, on a planet far, far away — boggles whatever’s left of my mind. It may be the dead of winter, but intelligence and adventure is alive ‘n’ well here and there. And now on Mars!

Take it from an old-timer like moi — this is way cool. Groovy, even.


Buddy Doyle


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